Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John C. Stupp: A Flower Once

It came

into the foundry

on someone’s boot

to die alone

in August

as we did

it was not the prettiest flower

but yellow

for a minute

it stood out

brighter than a furnace

before the petals tore off

I was the one who noticed

I was the one not concentrating

on the job at hand

on the cores moving in front of me

lift and stack

lift and stack

I was young

my arms were tired

there were men next to me

up and down the line

moving in unison

for 20 years

like flowers pressed on the floor

preserved forever in this book.


Copyright 2016 John Stupp



Steel Worker in Foundry by Luke Swank. Photograph taken probably in 1934 at Bethlehem Steel’s Franklin Mills, Johnstown, PA. Courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

2 comments on “John C. Stupp: A Flower Once

  1. John Lawson
    December 17, 2016

    This industrial image-poem combination reminds me of the great photographer-poet Milton Rogovin. Palisade Press published a book of his photos and accompanying poems a few years ago, The Lens & The Pen. Worth checking out: http://www.palisadepress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlie Brice
    December 17, 2016

    The imagery is so vivid in this poem that it is cinematic, and it is that imagery that makes the parallel between the flower and the men so powerful. A wonderful poem by John Stupp.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 17, 2016 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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